Rock The Vote
October 19, 2008
Well, you’re probably wondering why I have a shoe box in my hand. You know, there’s no way I can talk about who to vote for unless I have the right shoes on. It’s all about the shoes. I hope you know that. So if you just wait for a second, I’ll put on these shoes. Because this first shoe on the left, is probably one you recognize; the donkey, the Democratic shoe. Do you see that? The other shoe is this shoe; the Republican shoe on the right. Wow. So see we have the <donkey noise> and the <elephant noise>.
This might shock you and rock you, but the Bible tells us who to vote for. We have an election coming up. It is right around the corner. And the Scriptures tell us, I’ll say it again, who to vote for. So I thought it would be great if we could just go through Scripture and discover which candidate we should volunteer for. How would you like to do that? I would.
Let’s do it, because for far too long the church has been a non-prophet entity. It is time that we become for-prophet. Because the prophets of God, the men and women of God, need to stand up and say, “Here is what the Bible says. Here is how we should vote and here is who we should vote for.” So let’s just take a deep breath, relax and go for it.
T.S. There are five questions we need to ask ourselves. And once we ask ourselves these five questions and once we answer them, then we’ll be ready to vote for the right person. And as I unpack some of these answers, you’ll see and you’ll know who to vote for. So these are questions to ask yourself. Also these are questions to ask yourself about the perspective candidates.
The first question, I’m sure you’re wondering what that is, is the character question. It is the first of the five. Everything begins with character.
Think about our nation today, our schizophrenic economy. Think about portfolios that are puttering along. Think about retirement nest eggs that are scrambled and poached and cracked, but they’re anything but sunny side up. Think about daily security breaches. Think about how we have hydroplaned through morality. Think about Fedzilla, the government that is supposed to protect us but now they’re preying on us; that’s P R E Y. We have fed Fedzilla so much, Fedzilla now is eating any profits that anybody makes and now Fedzilla is redistributing the wealth. Sounds like a slide into socialism to me. Wow, could it be?
The character question is a big one, because if we elect righteous leaders our government will be righteous. And if our government is righteous, then the laws will be righteous. Conversely, if we elect unrighteous men and women, our government will be unrighteous and the laws will be unrighteous.
“Ed, where did you get that?”
Well, here’s what the Bible says, Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules the people groan.”
I like that word, authority. Because the person that we elect, when this person places his or her hand on the Bible and is sworn in, I want this person to say, “You know what, I’m under the authority of God.”
We’re one nation under God. Not alongside God or above God. We’re under God. Character can be defined as who you are when no one is looking. Because when no one is looking, that’s who you are. And for a long, long time people have said, especially the politicians have said this. “You know, who you are in private does not really effect who you are in public office.”
How many times have we heard that? Or how many times have we translated that from different politicians? That is absolutely, friends, nuts. Because who you are in private is who you are. Who you are in private is who you are in public. Everything is fluid. Everything matters. Character.
“But what is character,” you might be asking? What is character? Character is an outward reflection of an inward connection. You see, when I come to a point in my life where I establish this personal relationship with Christ, when I respond to his irrational, one of a kind love, the Bible tells me that the righteousness of Jesus is imputed into my life. I cannot muster up righteousness.
The Bible says no one is righteous, not even one. Jesus was perfectly righteous. So when I receive him he gives me the righteousness. It’s because of this connection that I have this reflection.
So character is an outward reflection of an inward connection. It comes from the inside out. And the Scriptures call this the fruit of the spirit. So one of the questions that we need to ask ourselves and ask of the candidates is this character issue. Are they producing Godly character? Do they have character?
Now obviously any of these folks that we’re thinking about, they have character. But it is Godly character? Proverbs 16:12 (MSG) says, “Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds; sound leadership has a moral foundation.”
What are these candidates building their lives on? Now let me ask you that question: what are you building your life on? Because Jesus said, “A wise man,” in Matthew 7, “builds his house on the rock.” His foundation was the rock. “An unwise man,” or we might say an intelligent man, “would build his house on the sand. It looks great from the outside but the rogue winds come, the waves hit, boom, the house is obliterated. But the man,” Jesus said, “who built his house on the rock, it’s there. It’s in stone. It’s stable.”
Are you a relativist? Do you say, “What’s true for you is true. I just look inside myself to discover what the truth is.”
We have a serious problem when we look inside of ourselves, because I’m fallen and fallible. You’re a moral mess up. I’m a sinner. You’re a sinner. Everybody is a sinner. If we look inside of ourselves we’re going to be all jacked up. We’re going to be totally messed up.
Morality, character comes from outside of us and we have an opportunity to take what is outside, the gospel, and bring it to the inside. We have an opportunity to build our lives on a solid foundation, which is morality and righteousness. It is the righteousness of Christ.
Isn’t it interesting as we do life, because the choices we make choose the consequences we take? In other words, when I make a choice; and I have the freedom of choice as a human being, I’m made in the image of God. When I choose something that choice chooses the consequences. I can’t choose the consequences once I make a choice. The choice just chooses that for me. The choices we’re making today as we live life, the character choices, the choices we make when we pull the lever, have huge implications. They choose the consequences.
And simply put, America has sown to the wind and we’re reaping a whirlwind. We have sown to relativism. We have sown to situational ethics. We have taught our young people that they’re just educated animals. In our public schools we have animalized humans and humanized animals. We pass out condoms and say, “You know what, you’re just a dog in heat. You can’t help yourself. You’re just an animal.”
This might shock and rock a lot of you here, but the Bible tells us that we’re not animals. So turn to your neighbor and say, “Hey neighbor, I’m not an animal.”
Some of you might be thinking, “Wow, I’m not an animal. Really?”
No, you’re not an animal. We’re made in the image of God. We’re fully physical and fully spiritual. We’re not animals. God made that obvious in the book of Genesis.
But see, it sounds so sexy and cool to say, “I just can’t help myself. I’m just an animal.”
Animals? We’re not animals. We’re made in the image of God and we have an opportunity to reflect godly character. The character question is a big one.
Here’s the second question we must ask ourselves and also ask ourselves as we think about who we’re going to vote for. It’s the conviction question.
So character is who you are when no one is looking. Character is an outward reflection of an inward connection. Conviction is belief. I believe this. I stand on this foundation. Conviction. Conviction. Conviction, a strong passion or belief.
Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous” there’s the word again the righteous “are as bold as a lion.”
Not as bold as an <elephant noise> or a <donkey noise>. Forget that. A lion. We need to elect lionesses and lions in this day, people who are not politicians but people who are statesmen, people who are leaders.
Illus: Do you remember that show “Lost in Space”? Some of you who are over 40, do you remember “Lost in Space”? Yes. Yes, everyone, Miami, Plano, downtown, television, Fort Worth. “Lost in Space;” the greatest actors and actresses ever were on that show. I love “Lost in Space” and especially the robot. Do you remember the robot? He had that voice, Will Robinson. Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith. I loved the robot. What a man of character and conviction.
If the robot were in our culture today he would look at a lot of men and women who are running for office and he would say, “Warning! Warning! Politician approaching! Politician approaching!” All of us over 40 are laughing; those who are under 40 are saying “What?” Just ask someone over 40. “Lost in space.” I love that.
Jesus said this in Matthew 5:37 about conviction. You want to talk about conviction, Jesus said, Matthew 5:37 he said, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the…” what? “…evil one.”
So many politicians try to take a half truth and make it the whole truth. When you take a half truth and make it the whole truth, it becomes an untruth. Conviction. We have to have this belief, this strong persuasion that comes from God.
The gay agenda, and believe me it’s an agenda; is trying to compare their plight to the Civil Rights movement? Say what?! If I were an African American I would be offended. I have known a lot of former homosexuals. But I have never met a former African American. Maybe Michael Jackson.
But again, it sounds so politically correct to say we should be able to choose who we marry. Does that sound cool? I need to be able to marry who I want to marry. That’s what the homosexual agenda tells us.
But think about character. Think about conviction. Think about those things just for a second. Think about those things.
Well, I can’t marry a child. I can’t marry a close blood relative. I can’t marry—it’s against the law— a group of people. I can’t marry someone who is married. I can’t do that. And then I can’t marry an animal. I can’t do that. It is against the laws of our land and our laws come from Christian roots <rewind noise>, Christian roots <rewind noise>, Christian roots <rewind noise>, Christian roots.
Now our public schools, and I love the talking heads in the secular media who have edited history; but you study history, and I’m telling you, it comes from Christian roots <rewind noise>, Christian roots.
So we can’t marry in these 5 areas. And the homosexual community says, “You know what, the government needs to keep its nose out of the bedroom.” Again, it sounds really cool. Well, if we keep going down this slippery slope that says we’re just animals, one day we’re going to say, “Hey the government needs to keep its nose out of the barnyard <elephant noise> <donkey noise>.”
We’re educated animals? We have animalized humans and humanized animals? Half truth is now the whole truth, but it is in reality an untruth. It is scary.
Illus: Do you know who has the answer to all these issue? I was thinking the other day. Of course we know God, number 1. But there is a person who has the answers to all these questions. Joe the plumber. Think about Joe the plumber. Two nuts don’t fit. Am I going too fast? Two bolts don’t fit. You have to have a female and a male, right?
God has told us from cover to cover that there is only one context where sex should be enjoyed and practiced and celebrated: marriage. But again, talk to the people who lead in so many universities, the Dr. Fuzzy Faces out there. Talk to so many people in the cultural elite, in the media. And I’m not saying everyone in the media, because we have some great people in the media who are followers of Christ who stand with character and conviction right here at Fellowship Church. But generally speaking, all those people have taken a beautiful word like tolerance. Say tolerance with me. They have taken tolerance and they have decaffeinated it.
Do you know what tolerance means in its original definition? Acceptance. In its original definition, I am tolerant and so are you. As a follower of Christ, I am tolerant. But not the way they’re talking about it today; not the way the media and Dr. Fuzzy Face talks about it today.
Today they say tolerance is not just acceptance.
And let me stop here. We accept homosexuals. We accept adulterers. We accept fornicators. We accept all sorts of sinners, because everybody is a sinner. But the new tolerance is: I have to accept you and approve of your behavior and applaud it. We don’t applaud, we don’t approve of the behavior of the fornicator, the adulterer, the homosexual or the sin in our lives. We don’t applaud that. But the new tolerance says you have to because if you don’t, you’re intolerant. How whack is that?
The Bible tells me and it tells you that during the end of time, as we approach the end, wrong is right and wrong is right. You see, we’re getting this information from intellectual idiots. It is great to have a high IQ. It is great to have worldly knowledge. But I know more educated idiots in our universities and in the government than any place I have ever seen in my life. Because these idiots make decisions that totally don’t make sense. Common sense is uncommon. Common sense is a ridiculous phrase. It should be called uncommon sense.
If you want wisdom—I’m not talking about intelligence; it is great to have worldly intelligence – but if you want real wisdom, see life through the lenses of the Lord. And then you will see and know and understand the depth and the beauty of what it means to be fully human and then you can make the right choice.
Let’s go for the third question. We’re having fun now. The courage question. The courage question. Does this candidate display courage? Can you look at this candidate’s life, the history of him or her and say, “He stood up for courage there. She stood up for courage. She stood.”
Because courage is the God given ability to stand. You see, conviction is belief; courage is behavior. Our belief influences our behavior. Is this person really a person of courage?
Or do they say, “Let me get this focus group together and let me lick my index finger and see which way the wind is blowing. Let me check the latest poll. I will do this over here. I am with you man and I will say this over there.”
Or do they say, “I am a lion. I am a lioness. This is where I stand. This is right and this is wrong and here is where I stand on character, on conviction and courage.”
Illus: I read the other day where over in Asia they’re experimenting with a car that is collapsible. Isn’t that crazy? And who knows if this is true or not, but supposedly they can take this car and collapse it down to a suitcase thing.
And we treat courage like that, don’t we? We say, “It is cool to be courageous now. Everybody is with me. The focus groups and everybody is applauding. I’m going to be courageous now.” But what happens when you’re the only one standing? What happens when peer pressure circles you, my brother or my sister, like a school of blue sharks in the Atlantic Ocean? What happens then?
That is when the plot clots and that is where we need to understand Proverbs 11:3, “The integrity of the upright guides them…”
This word integrity kind of scares me every time I read it. Integrity comes from the word integer. That really scares me. I hate math. An integer is a whole number. “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”
So is this person, or are you, my friend, giving wholeness, giving a life of integrity? Or are you just giving out fractions? Wow.
The other day I heard a candidate being interviewed and here is the response the candidate made to a question on morality. Are you ready for this? Because it sounded, when I first heard it, so right on. They asked this candidate blah, blah, blah about this question. And the candidate said, “Well, for me as a Christian…”
At first I thought, “That is good. ‘For me as a Christian.’” Then I thought, “What?! For me? Okay, so I’m above God? For me. It’s all about me. I look to myself. I look inside myself. For me, my view, my perspective of the Bible. For me as a Christian….”
No, no, no, no, no. The answer should have been, “As a Christian as a Christian as a Christian as a Christian….”
See, that was a relativistic answer. Relativism. And here is what’s so unique about relativism; here is what’s so absurd about relativism. Relativism is a self-refuting world view, because relativists are absolute about their relativism. Thus, it totally blows this ideology out of the water. The relativists say, “What’s right for you is right for you and what’s true for you is true for you.”
What if you think, “Well, what’s true for me is to fly airliners into the sides of skyscrapers and kill hundreds and hundreds of people. That’s just what’s right for me. You know, what’s right for me is that I can’t control myself. I’m just a homosexual. What’s right for me is my dad really had a problem with anger and so I have to be angry and I have to spew volcanic lava all over you and hurt you and harm you. I just can’t help myself. My uncle was a criminal. My uncle ripped a bunch of people off. I’m a laden criminal. I just have to rip you off.”
We’re animals? Is that right? Dogs in heat? We’re animals? You see how crazy, how demonic, how sinister this whole thing is? God tells me I’m more than that. As a human being made in God’s image, I have a choice and my choices choose the consequences.
But we have a whole bunch of blaming boomers and generation excusers. “I just can’t help myself. My parents put my diapers on too tight. The school, the coach, the pastor…” The blaming boomers and generation excusers. When are we going to step up and take responsibility for our lives and have some courage and say, “I’m going to vote for people who exemplify this character and this conviction and this courage that comes from God himself”? This is huge.
There’s another question, too. Let me just hit on it very, very quickly. The compassion question; that’s the fourth question to ask yourself and ask others.
What is compassion? It’s love in action. And all of the candidates have compassion. But what is it, really? Proverbs 31:8 9, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy.”
So we should help those who need help. We should help those who are physically challenged or emotionally challenged who can’t work. It is not saying that we should have compassion on people who can work. And this slide into socialism says, “Let’s feed Fedzilla more and more.” And Fedzilla will take the profits. And there’s this giant redistribution of wealth and we give all this money to people who are able-bodied people who can work. And we give them all this money as they smoke weed, drink Pap’s Blue Ribbon and play around on their iPhones.
I’m sorry, but that is wrong. It’s wrong. So I guess the government knows more about life than I do and you do and than God does? Fedzilla.
Now, we do have to step up and help people who can’t help themselves. The church has to do it. And we fumble the ball too many times. The church needs to do that. But the government’s job is to protect, period. But now the government has become so big and so monster-like they’re preying on you and me; that’s P-R-E-Y.
Let’s once again talk about compassion. How about abortion? We’re taking the lives of 3,200 babies a day, taking the lives of developing babies when you’ll get thrown in prison and pay an astronomical fine if you disturb the eggs of developing sea turtles?
What’s right is wrong and wrong is right. So I guess Dr. Fuzzy Face is right? The media is right? The cultural elite, they’re right? The Hollywood celebrities, most of them, they’re right?
Proverbs 24:11 12, “Rescue those being led away to death…” Again, I’m just reading Scripture here. “…hold back those staggering towards slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?”
Here’s the fifth question, the constituency question. How does this person; or better yet, let me flip it. How do you spell relational relief? How does this potential candidate spell relational relief? Because I can meet your friends without even meeting you and tell you what kind of person you are.
Who applauds this potential candidate? And here’s a big one. Who opposes them? I mean, we better wake up and smell the coffee here, friends. And I have to tell you this, if the mainstream secular media supports a candidate or an issue, there is a great chance that something is sideways and you better look at that one very, very closely. Who opposes them? Who is for them? Who opposes you? Who is for you?
Let me talk to students. You want to mess up your lives? You want to screw your lives up? You just hang out with people who take you to the wrong places, because you’ll end up missing God’s purpose for your life.
“Ed, that is pretty direct, dude.”
I have talked to tens of thousands of students and I have never been proven wrong. It is me? No, I am just simply repeating what Scripture says. If you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s; if you’re married or single; if you hang out with people, rub shoulders with people who will compromise, who don’t show character, who have no conviction, courage, compassion; you will never, ever, ever discover the greatness that God has. You’ll be just vacillating between two positions. You will never discover it.
T.S. So it is time to be the church. It is time to vote. Because you know, let me just tell you who to vote for. <Elephant noise>, <donkey noise>. Forget this. What? What I’m talking about is much bigger than a little donkey or elephant. You want to know who to vote for?
Vote for Jesus! It’s about Jesus. This whole thing is about Jesus. What does our world struggle with? What does the media struggle with? What do the cultural elite struggle with? What do the universities struggle with? It is the person of Jesus.
This fight is not against flesh and blood; it is against principalities. It is against forces that we can’t even see. That is the fight. That is the game. And too many of us are drunk on deception. We’re drunk on all this stuff and we don’t even realize there’s a game going on. Because as you look at the scoreboard, it doesn’t look that hot for the home team.
We have got to have all of these qualities, because how can we vote right if we’re not living right? How can we put a righteous leader in office if we’re not reflecting righteousness?
Every day we’re pulling the lever. Who are you pulling the lever for? Jesus or you? Jesus or relativism? Jesus or secular humanism? Jesus or the gospel according to Oprah? Jesus or some new age book called “The Secret”? Who are you pulling the lever for? Who are you pulling the lever for in your relationships? Who are you pulling the lever for as you’re going to certain places? Who are you pulling the lever for as you use language that either points people to Christ or takes them away from him? What are you doing? How are you living your life?
And I have to ask myself that same question. That is the issue. So you want to rock the vote? I do. How do you rock the vote? Very simply, Matthew 7, “Build your life on the rock.” Because Jesus will take you places you never dreamed possible.